Surah Al-Anbiya >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Anbiya Ayat 16 (21:16)

Surah Al-Anbiya Ayat 16 in Arabic Text

وَمَا خَلَقۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَا لَٰعِبِينَ
Wa maa khalaqnas samaaa’a wal arda wa maa bainahumaa laa’ibeen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 16

Sahih International
And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play.

Yusuf Ali
Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between!

Abul Ala Maududi
We did not create in sport the heavens and the earth and all that lies between the two.

Muhsin Khan
We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them for a (mere) play.

Pickthall
We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in play.

Dr. Ghali
And in no way did We create the heaven and the earth and whatever is between them as playing.

Abdel Haleem
We did not create the heavens and the earth and everything between them playfully.

Quran 21 Verse 16 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Anbiya ayat 16, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(21:16) We did not create in sport the heavens and the earth and all that lies between the two.[15]


15. This was to refute their entire conception of life which was based on the assumption that man was free to do whatever he liked, and there was none to call him to account or take him to task: that there was no life in the Hereafter where one’s good deeds would be rewarded and evil deeds punished. In other words, this meant that the whole universe had been created without any serious purpose and therefore there was no need to pay any heed to the message of the Prophet.

Ibn-Kathir

16. We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them for play. 17. Had We intended to take a pastime, We could surely have taken it from Us, if We were going to do (that). 18. Nay, We fling the truth against the falsehood, so it destroys it, and behold, it disappears. And woe to you for that which you ascribe. 19. To Him belongs whosoever is in the heavens and on earth. And those who are near Him are not too proud to worship Him, nor are they weary. 20. They glorify His praises night and day, they never slacken.


Creation was made with Justice and Wisdom

Allah tells us that He created the heavens and the earth in truth, i.e. with justice.

﴿لِيَجْزِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُواْ بِمَا عَمِلُواْ وَيِجْزِى الّذِينَ أَحْسَنُواْ بِالْحُسْنَى﴾

(that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done, and reward those who do good, with what is best.) ﴿53:31﴾. He did not create all that in vain or for (mere) play:

﴿وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَآءَ وَالاٌّرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا بَـطِلاً ذَلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنَ النَّارِ ﴾

(And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire!) ﴿38:27﴾

﴿لَوْ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نَّتَّخِذَ لَهْواً لاَّتَّخَذْنَـهُ مِن لَّدُنَّآ إِن كُنَّا فَـعِلِينَ ﴾

(Had We intended to take a pastime, We could surely have taken it from Us, if We were going to do (that).) Ibn Abi Najih said, narrating from Mujahid:

﴿لَوْ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نَّتَّخِذَ لَهْواً لاَّتَّخَذْنَـهُ مِن لَّدُنَّآ﴾

(Had We intended to take a pastime, We could surely have taken it from Us,) “Meaning, `From Ourself,’ He is saying, `We would not have created Paradise or Hell or death or the resurrection or the Reckoning.”’

﴿إِن كُنَّا فَـعِلِينَ﴾

(if We were going to do (that). ) Qatadah, As-Suddi, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and Mughirah bin Miqsam said: “This means, `We will not do that.”’ Mujahid said, every time the word

﴿أَنْ﴾

(if) is used in the Qur’an, it is a negation.

﴿بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَـطِلِ﴾

(Nay, We fling the truth against the falsehood,) means, `We explain the truth and thus defeat falsehood.’ Allah says:

﴿فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ﴾

(so it destroys it, and behold, it disappears.) it is fading and vanishing.

﴿وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ﴾

(And woe to you) O you who say that Allah has offspring.

﴿مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ﴾

(for that which you ascribe.) that which you say and fabricate. Then Allah informs of the servitude of the angels, and how they persevere in worship night and day:

Everything belongs to Allah and serves Him

﴿وَلَهُ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَمَنْ عِنْدَهُ﴾

(To Him belongs whosoever is in the heavens and on earth. And those who are near Him) i.e., the angels,

﴿لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ﴾

(are not too proud to worship Him,) they do not feel proud and do not refuse to worship Him. This is like the Ayah:

﴿لَّن يَسْتَنكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبْداً للَّهِ وَلاَ الْمَلَـئِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ وَمَن يَسْتَنْكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيهِ جَمِيعاً ﴾

(Al-Masih will never be proud to reject being a servant of Allah, nor the angels who are the near. And whosoever rejects His worship and is proud, then He will gather them all together unto Himself.) ﴿4:172﴾

﴿وَلاَ يَسْتَحْسِرُونَ﴾

(nor are they weary.) means, they do not get tired or feel bored.

﴿يُسَبِّحُونَ الْلَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لاَ يَفْتُرُونَ ﴾

(They glorify His praises night and day, they never slacken.) They persist in their worship night and day, obeying Allah to the utmost, and they are able to do this, as Allah says:

﴿لاَّ يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَآ أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ﴾

(who do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, but do what they are commanded) ﴿66:6﴾

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